Called to Care

Sunday Morning Musings:  Once again the unrest in our society has reared its ugly head in the form of racism and in some cases what I call false religiousism.  The white supremacy actions in Charlottesville and elsewhere including Canada, and the so-called ISIS supported attacks in Spain and Finland requires strong condemnation for these actions.  However, any response by the Canadian government and the Church has been slow.

I cannot speak for our government, but I can talk about the church.  The response from the so-called Christian church has been slow because there is no one that speaks for us all.  Pope Francis has spoken out but who really listens to him?  Even within the Roman Catholic Church there is a wide-range of beliefs and opinions on most matters, so why would one expect any difference when it comes to racism, sexism or any of the other “isms” that abound?  Personally, I believe any form of racism, sexism and the life all wrong.

Studies have revealed that less and less people are actually attending church (although many claim to still be spiritual – SBNR- which also often means something different to different people).  At one time the church was even found to be the blame for horrible events – slavery was supported by Biblical phrases; women were considered as property; LGBTQ folks were (are) considered an abomination before God.   One might think that such understandings of the Bible would feed into the conservative/fundamentalist points of view.  But studies reveal that just as many “right” wing believers are leaving the church as are others.  Sadly, their departure has not weakened the anti-views on most topics; rather it has served to strengthen them.   A report in the April 2017 issue of Atlantic Magazine states:

When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. … they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. In 2008, the University of Iowa’s Benjamin Knoll noted that among Catholics, mainline Protestants, and born-again Protestants, the less you attended church, the more anti-immigration you were.

From this statement one can but be in favour of church attendance, however, attendance is not the real issue.  What is it that is being taught and more importantly lived moment to moment?  The essence of any true religion is “hospitality” in all its fullness of meaning.  It does not speak of caring for only those like ourselves.  It lives caring for and showing compassion to anyone in need, making all of them my neighbour, regardless of skin colour, gender or beliefs.  To claim any kind of supremacy for one group is a false claim and needs to prohibited.  And of course, this is the role of government, especially any government that claims be representative of its people (all of its people).

As far as I am concerned any belief or action that does not encourage full acceptance and tolerance is not only anti-religious, it is anti-life.


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